Ask the Experts: What Questions Should We Ask and Avoid During a Job Interview?

Kyle Cupp

Kyle Cupp

Question:

What sort of questions should we ask and avoid asking during a job interview?

Answer:

The questions you ask in a job interview should all be job-related and nondiscriminatory. You should avoid questions that are not job-related or that cause an applicant to tell you about their inclusion in a protected class. For example, if the position requires someone to lift 25 pounds repeatedly throughout the day, you should ask the applicant whether they can lift 25 pounds repeatedly throughout the day. You should not ask whether they have back pain or any other physical issues that might prevent them from lifting 25 pounds throughout the day. The latter question would be discriminatory.

Protected classes include race, national origin, citizenship status, religious affiliation, disability, pregnancy, sexual orientation or gender identity, past illnesses (including use of sick leave or workers’ comp claims), age, genetic information, or military service.

You should also avoid asking about things that might be protected by state law (like marital status and political affiliation). If you were to ask any questions pertaining to these matters, rejected candidates could claim that your decision was based on their inclusion in these classes rather than their credentials.

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